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Death and the Rose

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Josipa's Avatar
Josipa  Josipa is offline
Join Date: 12 May 2005
Location: Hrvatska (Croatia)
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Question Death and the Rose

What is the significance of the rose on the flag death is carrying?
The back of my cards is also adorned with the same roses, blue ones. On the back of the box I got this deck in it says that this is the original Tudor rose. But what does it actually stand for?
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Bev's Avatar
Bev  Bev is offline
Join Date: 16 May 2005
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I don't know if this will help you, but there is some food for thought on this topic here:

I know I have more information in my many books on symbolism, regrettably I don't have time right now to check them out. If you would like further information, I will try to post more on this later.

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Fulgour's Avatar
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The "Original" Rider Tarot card backs, also said to have
been used on the first 1909 edition, or very nearly so...

The Yorkshire Rose

The Lancashire Rose

Notice on "Death" this image is reversed on the Knight's flag:

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Emeraldgirl's Avatar
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York and Lancaster were the 2 families who were involeved in the War of the Roses for the English Crown in the 15th the 2 roses were then combined as the device for the Tudor dynasty. Henry Tudor became Henry VII after defeating Yorkist Richard III the battle of Bosworth field and ending decades of civil war. He married Richard's niece Elizabeth of York and founded the Tudor Dynasty.

Attached is a picture of the Tudor Rose.
Attached Images
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Josipa's Avatar
Josipa  Josipa is offline
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Location: Hrvatska (Croatia)
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Thanks everyone for the information. I kind of new the story of the war of the roses already, but thanks for reminding me :-)
But how do you see the rose on the death card, any special significance for you?
Top   #5
Sophie's Avatar
Sophie  Sophie is offline
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Hello Josipa,

have a look at this thread:

where the subject of the white rose is also being discussed.
Top   #6
mythos's Avatar
mythos  mythos is offline
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My understanding is that it is a Rosicrucian symbol. Don't know anything much about it, but I do know that Waite was a rabid (okay - exaggeration) Rosicrucian, and a lot of RC symbolism appears in the deck. Maybe the change from red to white represnets a loss of red (blood - life force)? Just a thought!

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job's Avatar
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I look at it as a pentacle upsided down, or a man upside down.
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NightWing's Avatar
NightWing  NightWing is offline
Join Date: 16 Nov 2004
Location: British Columbia, Canada
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Smile Black Death

Many years ago, a teacher of mine told me that the rose was a symbol of (among many other things) the Plague. Supposedly when people came down with the Plague in centuries past, and were thus marked for death, they developed blotches on their skin that reminded some people of roses.

If the skeletal horseman of the RWS Death card represents one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, "Plague" or "Pestilence" perhaps, and the other figures indicate the very democratic nature of that form of death, afflicting adult, child, king, bishop, etc. alike, then the Black Rider image here is probably inspired by the one from the Christian scriptures, in the Book of Revelations, chapter 6. This would be in keeping with A. E. Waite's background and beliefs.

Another name for the Plague was "The Black Death".

The use of this particular rose could of course be a time reference, to the last great outbreak of the Plague in Britain, in Yorkist times.
Top   #9
Rosanne's Avatar
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I take a great deal of notice of Roses I think several things when I see the the Black Flag/white rose on The Death card. I think of its sacredness to Isis in symbolising pure love and freedom from the lusts of the body. I think of how in Roman times Roses were grown in cemetarys as symbols of resurrection and eternal Spring. I think of how the rose grows on the tree of life implying regeneration and rebirth; it has long been the symbol of time and eternity, life and death. A white rose can can be seen as the rose of light- the spiritual unfolding and with five petals is the microcosm- us here below and the beginning of a fresh cycle. It is very like a wheel. I think Waite saw it as a symbol of the soul, and also alluding to the Virgin who was known as the Mystic Rose. Golden Dawn say it it is the symbol of Rebirth. I think it is all of the above including the symbol of the plague as NightWing has said.I think also it was it's Tudor sign from the War of the Roses that is it's real identity i on the card. After the truce and the Tudor Rose was designed it was carved into ceilings and warlike matters discussed “under the rose” were treated as being very sensitive and not to be repeated to others under pain of death. Under-the-rose came to be accepted as a security classification and “Sub-Rosa” was used extensively to denote matters regarded as what one might call secret up to the early part of the twentieth century. It was a sign of secret initiation. ~Rosanne
Top   #10



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